Program notes

Dark Chair, opus 47c (2013)

Dark Chair is a new version of Silk (from 1993) composed for Halcyon. The work is a setting of a short Chinese erotic text in English. In this version, soprano and mezzosoprano are used rather than two sopranos. In the process of reworking Silk for these voices the piece took on a new persona – largely because it is now lower in pitch than when for two sopranos. The piece has been given a new name, Dark Chair, that seems to suit the lower, darker and more mellow quality of the new version of the piece. There are various changes to the work from its original version but it is the same as Silk in terms of scoring for two voices plus three instruments (bass clarinet, vibraphone and double bass) and the overall duration.

When you sat in your dark chair

Ripe with fat fruits of yellow.

Ripe fruits of yellow and red silk

Alive with blue lithe animals.

Pressing your scented, rose-ended

Peach-coloured feet against my face.

As you desired:

I was humiliated.

(Anonymous Chinese erotica, translated by Charles Fowkes. Hong Kong: Guild, 1988.)

© Andrew Schultz, 2013